BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — A team of forensic experts led by the International Committee of the Red Cross said Friday that it has identified the remains of 88 Argentine soldiers buried in a Falklands Islands cemetery after the 1982 war.
Argentina lost a brief but bloody conflict with Britain after Argentine troops invaded the South Atlantic archipelago. Both countries reached a deal in December 2016 to identify the remains of the fallen soldiers.
The forensic report was presented to Argentine and British delegations at the Red Cross headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The Red Cross said in a statement that the identification process of 121 graves was highly successful. But it did not specify what will happen to rest of the unidentified bodies.
“We are pleased that we can now match names to many of the unidentified soldiers, providing answers to many of the families who have been waiting for news for over three decades,” said Dominik Stillhart, director of operations at the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Argentine authorities will announce the results confidentially to the families of the fallen soldiers.
The Red Cross said that the multinational team of 14 experts exhumed, analyzed, sampled and documented the remains of the unidentified soldiers from June 20-Aug. 7. The remains were collected from graves with the inscription, “Soldado Argentino solo conocido por Dios,” meaning: Argentine soldier only known to God.
“The dignity of the dead was ensured throughout. Each of the bodies was exhumed, carefully analyzed in a high-tech temporary mortuary built on-site and managed by the (Red Cross) for the purposes of the operation, then placed in a new coffin and reburied on the same day in the original grave,” it said.
The samples were analyzed and compared with DNA samples from family members of some of the fallen soldiers at a laboratory in Argentina. Laboratories in Britain and Spain conducted quality control of the DNA analyses.
In all, the war claimed the lives of 649 Argentines and 255 British soldiers.
The South American country still claims the islands that it calls the Malvinas. Britain says the Falklands are a self-governing entity under its protection.